January 15, 2010

I was at a bar a few weeks ago.  Well inebriated by the time I fought my way to the bar counter.  It was packed.  Football game.  Lots of fans who never knew they were fans until they reached the sixth one that night.  Anyway, I eventually stake my position and make eye contact with the bartender – a young man who looks to be about two or three years older than myself.

When it’s really loud and crowded, bartenders just raise their eyebrows, which is your cue to order.  It’s an interesting phenomenon because in a bar packed with almost 100 people, there is rarely any misunderstanding as to who is on the receiving end of the eyebrow raise.  At that moment, I was staring down arched eyebrows.

So, slurring just a tiny bit, I order:


“What?” he asks, confused.  I figure it’s the game.  It’s really loud.

“Cokeandrum, single shot.”


Okay, maybe it’s not the game.  I tried to locate, for the moment, the disconnect.  I could not find it.


“What’s that?”

“You know, your pour in a shot of Captain and then…”

“Oh, you mean a rum-and-coke?”

YES, O Imperial Bartender!  That’s exactly what I meant!  How dare I, a petty commoner, transpose two words in such a perverse manner?  Surely, switching the words around changed the concept of the drink entirely.  Whereas once it was rumandcoke, I had clearly made it cokeandrum.  Nevermind the fact nobody questioned Game when he did.

What an asshole bartender.  Like the mistake was on me.  Please.  He went on to explain that I was wrong because the way I had drunkenly uttered it, it sounded like I wanted a cup of coke with a side shot of rum.  Which makes no sense.  No sense at all.  Considering nobody ever does that.

I still tipped him one dollar on a three dollar drink.  I don’t know why.  I’m nice, I guess.

Now, every time someone corrects me on something trivial, I think of that story.  And ask them for a dollar.

Oh, me?  Well, since you asked…GSMB 2.0 is coming along nicely.  God, it feels so much better than the previous draft.  And I’ll still go back through it if/when I finish and butcher it again.  But it’s nice to have characters that actually stand out on their own.  There’s some nice potential for this novel, perhaps for a series, but I don’t want to get too far ahead.  I’m trying to really balance humor with entertainment and message, and I realize it’s a difficult juggling act.  Too humorous, nobody takes messages about religion seriously.  Too serious, it’s no fun.  Too many messages, you’re pretentious.  No messages, you’re a forgettable read.  So the idea is that it’s kinda funny and it’s kinda serious.  A lot of the concepts are fairly lighthearted.  I don’t really have anything more profound to say about religion than the next guy, but I try to throw a few things in there that make people think.  Ideally, if this novel ever materializes, one of the questions people come away with, and hopefully share with friends and family, is what the nature of a “God” is and what the psychology of a “savior” is.  Is God an entity or an idea?  Is a savior inherently bound to salvage or should he even bother?  Can he decide against destiny?  Can he succeed on behalf of humankind while suffering an unimaginable personal failure?  I like the idea that these questions can be asked, and they’re fairly open-ended.

More later.  It’s 4:30am.  I’m terrible about updating, but I’m writing more these days, so that’s the reason.



December 8, 2009

Today was a first – I was taxed for being antisocial.

I guess I should explain.  After all, this is a story.  It’s my story.  And it’s one of those consequential stories, something where someone’s snowball becomes the avalanche down Misanthropy Mountain.  Elevation 24,327 feet.

It started at the food court.  I recently decided that I am no longer allowed to eat McDonald’s or Burger King.  I am, however, allowed to eat Subway and Wendy’s.  How did this come to be?  Is this logical in any sort of dietary sense?  Hell no!  But McD’s and BK are just too convenient, and it’s too easy to justify dropping five bucks there.  So for the sake of my pennywallet soul, and those handful of pounds I don’t really need, I had to draw the line somewhere.

As such, I did not have my typical Thursday BK lunch.  Haven’t had BK in three weeks.  Instead, I went with some three dollar breadsticks at the food court, figuring those would hold me over.  And like I said before, this starts at the food court.

I don’t know how to phrase this nicely, but the food court is largely populated by mentally-handicapped individuals.  And the small percentage that isn’t constitutes the craziest of all crazy townies.  Take Crazy Hat Lady for example.  She wears some crazy ass hat to work every single day.  And I don’t mean crazy in the sense of “oh, how distinct!”  I mean crazy as in “WTF kinda store sells that hat?”  Today’s hat was a chicken.  Like, legs draped over the sides of the hat where ear flaps should be.  Giant neck and beak sticking out.  Certifiably crazy shit.  Previously, she has sported a squid hat and a dinosaur hat.  Clearly, a great documentary is waiting for her somewhere.

Anyway, a mentally-handicapped individual was working the register and gave me the wrong change.  Shortchanged me five cents.  But whatever – five cents, right?  Better than explaining it to them and confusing them and having them call the manager to open the register back up and give me the correct change, pissing those waiting in line off in the process.  So I just accepted the loss.

Well, a half-hour later, I’m thirsty as hell.  Breadsticks, yo.  So I walk up to a vending machine and insert one dollar and then start going through the change in my wallet.  I’m up to a dollar and two dimes, when I realize all I have left in the wallet is a handful of pennies.  Six pennies, to be exact.  But this vending machine does not take pennies.  And the Coke I so desire to purchase is $1.25.  I am, yes, five cents short.  Five cents I was previously shortchanged but did not contest.

Figuring I should cut my losses, I press the “change return” button.  It does not work.  I press it harder, because when you press buttons harder, they naturally make things work better.  No such luck.  The machine is holding on to $1.20 of my money.  I am still a nickle short.  Then I remember that the machine has an ePort same-as-cash card swipe function.  You can debit your purchase.

So I have two options at this point.  Stop one of the many people walking by in the hall and ask for a nickle, or at least trade my six pennies for a nickle.  Or debit $0.05 on my card.  Option 1 requires talking to strangers and posing an embarrassing request.  I don’t want to be that guy.  And I really don’t want to talk to strangers.  Option 2 requires five cents being subtracted from my bank account.  It’s naturally the more appealing option.  So I swipe my card and enter the selection.


It registers as a transaction and leaves me with a “HAVE A NICE DAY!”  Sure thing, robo-thief.  By my calculations to this point, I still have $1.20 in the machine and have now debited $1.25 for a Coke I did not receive.  I paid twice for something I never got!  And all this time, I’m not even thinking about how much that sucks, how much it sucks to get taxed for not wanting to deal with people – which is essentially what happened here.  I’m thinking that the next bastard who walks up to this machine is going to get a friggin’ five cent Coke.

This isn’t Pay It Forward.  I’m not Haley Joel Osment.  My world doesn’t operate out of this concept of generosity toward strangers.  I’ve just been karmically forced into this!

On the way home, I intentionally bump into some jackass on their cell phone not paying attention to where they are going.  It’s much more fun being antisocial.


December 3, 2009

Maybe you already noticed this on my Click 4 Happy page.  Maybe not.

But seriously, my local news spent their time collecting data for this report!  Speaking as a soon-to-be Journalism major, that is simply awesome.  Unfortunately, I cannot add much more than than The Chicagoist already did.  And really, at this point, it’s all over the Internet.  Why?

Because after airing the first report, which you just watched, they did a follow-up report.  With a real, unshadowed source!

(Unfortunately, I could not find video of this except on WTHR’s website – click “Ball Tapping Part 2.”)

Now, I could easily go on a journalistic tangent here.  I’ll spare you that.  What I’m more intrigued by, actually, is WTHR’s assertion that swinging a motherflipping socket wrench at someone’s junk is “ball tapping.”

Admittedly, it’s been a while since junior high.  But as far as I remember from all those wonderfully awkward years, a “ball tap” was more of a flick to the balls.  Effectively done with two fingers.  There was no punching.  There was no kicking.  There sure as hell wasn’t any freaking socket wrench involved!  At some point, we can no longer assert this activity as “ball tapping.”  At some point, it just becomes assault.  As in, that person isn’t playing a game.  They’re actually engaging in a criminal activity.  And you would find very few other individuals, even at that awkward stage when smacking another dude’s sack is somehow not homoerotic, that would consider a socket wrench as part of their ball-tapping arsenal.

I almost feel really bad for this Jacob Arend kid.  WTHR essentially took a serious assault story and totally misused it under the ball-tapping category, when it’s obviously much more of a disturbing case than a flick to the boys.  I really hope he and his father understand that this isn’t merely some extension of a weird game that adolescents play.  Somehow, I get the feeling that WTHR instigated this whole misinformation campaign with their first segment (the one embedded in this post that suggests kicking someone in the groin is “ball tapping”), this family saw it and for whatever opportunistic or slightly misguided reason approached WTHR about it, and Channel 13 just ran with it from there.  Now frightened parents everywhere are fearing for their childrens’ urinary tracts.

My point is – clearly, there is a line where ball-tapping becomes something far more malicious.  I mean, if somebody bends it like Beckham on the opposite pole of the rectum (that rhymes!), that is not ball-tapping.  That is pure douchitude.  If somebody swings a socket wrench…that’s assault.  Let’s make these distinctions clear.  It’s bad enough that WTHR exposes ball-tapping as an epidemic.  Now they just classify all gradients of the act as exactly the same thing, when clearly we need to be far more concerned about some instances than others.

And because of this, whenever Jacob Arend applies for a job, he’s going to get Googled and revealed as “the boy whose urethra was scarred from something that was clearly beyond ball-tapping.”  Which is totally unfair to him, I think.


November 19, 2009

Peanut buttah and crack sandwich!

I was out at this nowhere bar a couple nights ago.  House Bar, so says the sign.  It’s a bar.  In a house!  Novel idea.  The bathroom has a shower in it.  You sit in rooms that resemble living rooms.  There are couches.  All the hipsters flock.  The bartender likely has a neckbeard and a beanie and alternates his playlist between early 90’s hip-hop and Regina Spektor.  That kinda place.

(That kinda place where PBR will run ya one measly buck and I can get smart off rum-and-cokes for two a pop!)

And then, in the middle of all this hipster scene, there’s Scarface.

Scarface is an African-American man, about 5’7, wearing some dingy black t-shirt and a new era Scarface cap pointed backwards.  He smells of poo.  And he is only capable of articulating roughly every third word.  The rest is some cacophonic conduction of slurs and screeches.

I first meet Scarface on my way to purchase my second rum-and-coke of the night.  Ay man Ilikeyer jersey, he says, in reference to my sleeveless IU basketball shirt.  I nod and say thanks – polite boy I am – and continue to order my drink.  By the time I’m holding the glass and heading back to our little VIP section (that’s what I’m calling it anyway), Scarface has taken a seat next to my buddies.  Specifically, he has taken the seat of one individual who has gotten up to use the restroom.  Scarface is now a member of our entourage, like it or not.

Scarface at first talks about his shoes.  Specifically, how he hates his shoes.  How he is 31 years old and his mom still buys his shoes for him.  As he talks, I’m texting my buddies across the table from me – I’m in an overstuffed chair, they’re on a sofa – regarding the wafting clouds of poopstink that keep hitting my sinuses in bitter waves.  It occurs to me, at this point, that we have a crackhead on our hands.

But he’s not a gangster, he assures us.  No.  His mother is a gangster.  His mother “whoop [his] ayass”, but he is no gangster.  He is merely a dude.  Who wants to stop talking about depressing things.  Which serves as a perfectly segue into his rant about the tragedy at Fort Hood and how his cousin was there eight years ago so he could have been shot, so naturally we have to bag us some A-rabs.  Ramble ramble ramble, clouds of crap.

Thankfully, someone switches the subject to music.  Scarface likes music.  Specifically, he likes the eighties and nineties.  And the “Bee-Gheez.”  When my roommate tries to correct him (Bee-Jeez!), Scarface replies: “dat’s whaddie said man, da BEE GHEEZ!”  I find out, through interrogation, that he’s not a huge fan of Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift.  I declare myself to be Taylor Swift’s biggest fan.  This invites an assault of words I cannot understand, I think about doing sex, so I just laugh and shake my head and hope I’m not going to get stabbed for being a facetious son-of-a-bitch.

Well, this is all funny for maybe 15 minutes, but it turns out that crackheads have a statute of limitations on their comedic value.  After 15 minutes, crackheads are no longer funny.  They are just ranting crazies.  So we spend the next 20 minutes trying to hatch a plan to ditch Scarface, which ends up being as simple as going back to the bar and striking up a conversation with the local hipsters just trying to enjoy their Gouda cheese.  Scarface takes this opportunity to join another group at the other end of the bar, sitting down to a few bottles of wine and more cheese.  Scarface doesn’t exactly strike me as a member of the cheese-and-wine crowd, so the imagery is pretty funny there.

Short story short: don’t wind crackheads up.  It’s exactly what they want.  Will they believe anything you tell them?  Probably.  Do their mothers buy them lame shoes?  Most definitely.  But if you get them talking about any of these things, they’ll just ruin your night at the bar to the point where two dollar rum-and-cokes can’t even save you.

And that, friends, is no good.


November 12, 2009

(Don’t worry, little dude.  It’s the present and still nobody reads my blog!)

But topic for tonight: telepathy.

Specifically, I’m thinking of this recurring phenomenon with a friend.  We’re always, as they say, “on the same page.”  For something like six or seven years, we’ve on several occasions said the same word at the same time.  Sometimes the same sentence at the same time.  And I mean, not delayed, not before or after, not getting the assist and finishing the sandwich.  At the SAME TIME!

Is that telepathy?

Five minutes of Googling tells me, no, it’s not, because telepathy does not exist.  But since scientists don’t have friends and I do, I’m going to choose to believe otherwise.  Thus, now, it is a proven fact that I have psychic abilities.  They may only work with one other individual, but you have to consider me a threat as part of this tandem now.  Because you never know what we could be plotting that no one else could intercept.

It is a strange phenomenon, though.  Kinda like that “twin” feel, but between two unrelated people.  Odd, and there’s something strange going on psychically, but I’m really not smart enough to know.

I mean, geez, I just draw dinosaurs.  RAWR!


November 12, 2009

This is an old one.  Like, one of the first.

I wish Jesus was my neighbor.  Pretty sure he wouldn’t complain about slip-and-slides at three o’clock in the morning.  Plus, the dude knows how to keep the alcohol flowing.  Garden hose, meet miracle maker!

Speaking of neighbors, though, those sirens from the previous entry came to claim one of them.  I don’t know if he died or not, he was a really old man.  I kinda wonder if I should stop by and check on things, or the good Samaritan in me wonders.  But isn’t that awkward, if you don’t really know a person?  To knock on their door basically to ensure that they still exist?

I think that’s awkward.

So I probably won’t.


November 10, 2009

Quite the busy week.  Need to upload more doodles, but until then…


Just kinda a strange observation, not necessarily a funny one.  I slept badly the other night.  Or is it bad?  But I couldn’t really remember why, just woke up more groggy for the fact.

Later that evening, my roommate informs me that there was a lot of commotion across the street.  Apparently, some ambulances and firetrucks had showed up around 3:30 and were tearing down the street, blaring their horns as they traveled.  Which, of course, is totally unnecessary on a one-way neighborhood street at 3:30am.  But I digress.

Point is, as soon as he told me this, I remembered briefly hearing this blaring and then passing back out.  I’m a heavy sleeper.  It’s not uncommon for loud noises to wake me up (which sounds totally contradictory to what I just said) but they wake me up quite literally for a matter of seconds.  As long as I’ve determined the room is not on fire, I easily fall back asleep.  Same thing with loud thunderstorms.  No fire, no need to stay awake.

But I thought it was interesting how I had erased this from my conscious memory altogether.  It wasn’t until I was told about the night’s events that I remembered hearing those sirens.  Which leads me to wonder – is that memory real?  Or did I just construct that given this information?  It feels authentic, but on the same hand, I can imagine a lot of memories could be easily constructed.  I’d wager that a lot of my childhood memories did not ever actually occur as they remain committed to my memory, and some events, I’ve discovered through endless arguing with those involved, I’ve made up entirely.

Memory is an interesting thing.  Not only is it subject to perspective – two people can remember the same event in completely different ways – but it’s subject to conscious recording too.  Take the sirens, for example.  The ambulances came, I heard them arrive, I was conscious when they arrived, but as my window of consciousness was so short, it soon shut and relegated that memory to my subconscious thought.  So when I woke up a few hours later wondering why I was tired, I could not remember exactly why I had woken up for a few seconds at 3:30am, but just that I had and something had prompted it.

It’s somewhat akin to sleepwalking.  I’ve only been prone to an act of sleepwalking one time in my life – that I know of anyway.  I’m pretty sure I’m not a sleepwalker.  But how would you really know, right?  If the act was not witnessed by another party?  Anyway, I must have been eight or nine years old, and I managed to sleepwalk from my room upstairs, down to the main level and into the family room, where legend has it I tried to drink from a silver candleholder before my parents figured out I wasn’t fully awake and beat me mercilessly.  Just kidding, they just shook me awake.  Legend has it.

So I mean, while obviously there was some level of conscious processing for me to be able to navigate the staircase and hallways, to identify and grab the candleholder, obviously these memories were never retained once I regained full conscious processing.  They were relegated.  Yet little memories – a re-telling or re-witnessing – from others filled in the gaps and brought these occurrences back to the surface.

I suppose what fascinates me the most about this idea is that, if no one else witnesses these events or tells you something that prompts that miniature epiphany, did you really see or hear it?  Is it really stored in your memory?  Will you ever randomly access it or will your subconscious dispose of it entirely?  Could you, theoretically, retain the description of a criminal’s license plate in between spans of consciousness if you were assaulted?  I don’t know.  I don’t think a lot of people know how we gain access to these things.  But it’s crazy, it really is, how powerful the brain is, how much it can store than we can’t even process or access or comprehend.